ANALYSIS - Scientists at the University of Lincoln are to lead the most comprehensive study of the UK pig industry ever conducted.
The four year PIGSustain project, which has been awarded more than £2 million, will bring together all existing data with new scientific studies to accurately build an overview of the entire industry.
The academics leading the project will then produce a systems model, which will be used to predict how major economic and environmental changes will affect the industry, from farmer to retailer, and provide the kind of informed advice which has not previously been available to key decision makers.
PIGSustain will also gather information on emerging pig diseases. This is of importance as it is possible for pigs to translate animal diseases into human forms.
As part of the project's work to track the health and welfare of pigs on farms year-round, a new monitoring system which can be installed within pig pens will also be devised.
In other news, the International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses has officially approved the naming of a new virus, which was first discovered in a diseased pig in 2011, as influenza D.
The committee announced a new genus, Orthomyxovirdae, with a single species, Influenza D virus, because of its distinctness from other influenza types—A, B and C.
A researcher from South Dakota State University, US, who discovered the virus, later found that cattle are the primary reservoir for influenza D.
The goal is now to compare the virulence among the bovine and swine influenza D strains and also to determine whether influenza D, which has 50 per cent similarity to human influenza C, can cause problems in humans.